MILTON, Ga. — Two months before police say a high-priced prostitute calmly left a Google executive dying from a heroin overdose on his yacht, the woman panicked on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as her boyfriend lay on the floor of their home in the throes of a fatal overdose.
Police said Thursday they are re-examining the death of Dean Riopelle, 53, the owner of a popular Atlanta music venue who once owned an Ybor City club. Riopelle had been dating Alix Tichelman, 26, who is charged with manslaughter in the November death of Google executive Forrest Hayes, 51, and is being held on $1.5 million bond. She was not charged in Riopelle's death.
"Both subjects in these cases died of heroin overdoses so there's just several factors we want to look at to make sure that we didn't miss anything," Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty said.
It is not clear how long Tichelman may have been involved in prostitution, though police in California say she had many clients in the wealthy Silicon Valley. Police there also said that, after Hayes' death, she had done online searches for how to defend herself legally after administering a lethal dose of heroin.
In September, a panicked Tichelman called 911, saying her boyfriend had overdosed on something and wouldn't respond. Tichelman tried for five minutes to revive him before calling 911, according to a police report. She said she had been in the shower when she heard a crash and came out to find Riopelle unconscious. Tichelman said Riopelle had been on a "bender the last few days," according to the police report.
Riopelle died at a hospital a week later. An autopsy report listed his death as an accidental overdose of heroin, oxycodone and alcohol.
Riopelle was known for owning the Masquerade, a popular Atlanta music venue. Riopelle, a University of Florida graduate, opened his first bar, also called Masquerade, years earlier in Ybor City, said his sister, Dee Riopelle.
Police say surveillance video from the Google executive's yacht shows Tichelman's next deadly encounter with heroin in California, on Nov. 23.
Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark gives this account from the video:
Tichelman prepares the heroin to a liquid and injects it into Hayes' arm. Shortly after, Hayes clutches his chest, near his heart. Tichelman tries to prop him up, but he then loses consciousness.
Tichelman then casually steps over Hayes as he lay dying on his yacht, picking up clothes and heroin and swallowing the last of a glass of wine before lowering the boat's blinds and walking back on the dock to shore.
"Never does she call 911 or call out to others in nearby boats for help. She never tries to administer any aid to him," Clark said.